Operation Ride Home


We are no longer accepting applications for the 2014 holiday season. Thank you.


For a list of other Armed Services YMCA branches participating in this program, visit our national website at www.asymca.org.

Operation Ride Home is an initiative to help send junior enlisted military personnel home for the holidays. Many of these young service men and women are miles from home and can’t afford the sometimes exorbitant plane flares to get there. With a grant provided by Jack Daniels, we are able to subsidize the airfare or provide travel vouchers to drive.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Who qualifies for Jack Daniel’s Operation Ride Home with the Armed Services YMCA?

A: This program is for junior enlisted service members who might not otherwise financially be able to travel home for the Holidays. The program is open to single and married E-4 and below active duty members and their immediate family members.


Q: What Armed Services YMCA locations and/or Military Installations will be part of the program?

A: In Hampton Roads, all active duty military members E-4 & below are eligible to apply.


Q:  Who do I contact to sign up?

A: Please see Section A for the appropriate contact information. Jack Daniel’s and the Armed Services YMCA will not be nominating, selecting or choosing who will participate. Jack Daniel’s, its Distributors and the general public are funding the travel and the Armed Services YMCA is using their staff and volunteers to book the travel.  Our Military partners will determine and prioritize the need.


Q: How come this program is only at certain locations?

A: This program is funded by the generous contributions of Jack Daniel’s, Jack Daniel’s Distributors and the general public along with support from the Armed Services YMCA.  As you can imagine, booking travel for hundreds of military families when hundreds of thousands would like the opportunity, we appreciate that our military families understand that it is a very time consuming, expensive and labor intensive program to be able to implement in addition to our other Holiday programs. We appreciate our participant’s attitude of gratitude and the recognition while we would like to be able to support every military member and their family, funding and other factors have to be considered. We hope to continue to grow the program in future years.


Q: Who qualifies for flights and who qualifies for driving assistance?

A:  Military families must travel at least 350 miles from their installation location to qualify for travel assistance.  The option to drive or fly is based on individual circumstances.


Q: Will you be distributing cash as part of this program?

A: No, the ASYMCA will be booking Flights and travel directly with the family to ensure the proper use of donated funds.


Q: Are there limits?

A: Yes, flights are limited at up to $400 per person, and up to $100 per person for driving assistance.


Q: Can I call or email to ask questions?

A: Due to our small non-profit staffs at the ASYMCA who are running multiple holiday programs for military families, the best way to get details on the program and to find answers, dates and contact info for all participating locations is to email ridehome@asymcahr.org


Q: What if I have Feedback or comments on the program?

A: We welcome feedback and comments in line with our YMCA core values of caring, respect, honesty and responsibility.   We hope to receive enough positive feedback to continue and grow the program in the future.  Feel free to share your comments with us at feedback@asymca.org.  Please respect the donors and volunteers who are giving their time and funds, and do not post negative comments publicly or on social media. Comments that reflect poorly on the donor, sponsors, or military in general will be erased.  Donations are always appreciated, not expected.


Q: How do I qualify for the program?

A: If you meet the eligibility criteria listed in Section A, you may contact the Location POC, as listed in Section A, for an application.   Participants will be determined and prioritized based on need. This is also an ongoing fundraiser thru December, so if we receive additional donations, we will verify, notify and book travel for those military families before the deadline. Families will be notified as additional donations become available, but no later than December 4th, 2012 for flights, or December 11th for travel vouchers for drivers.



FLY: Last Program Day to Book Flights: November 20th

DRIVE: Last Day to issue travel vouchers for those traveling by car- November 20th


Q: Are there pay grade restrictions?

A: Yes, E-4 and below.


Q: If I qualify for the program and fill out an application, am I guaranteed free travel home for the holidays?

A: No, based on the amount of applicants, and the requests for flights versus driving travel requests, applications will be prioritized based on need determined by Military Leadership. But all applicant families will know no later than December 4th for flights, and December 11th for car travel.


Q: Where do (and don’t) you fly?

A: Due to the high cost of international flights (and travel caps of  $400 per individual) and in order to serve as many military families as possible, the program does not support international flights, as well as flights to/from Alaska and Hawaii.


Q: Why are Alaska and Hawaii not included?

A: Due to the high cost of flights to/from Alaska and Hawaii, and in an effort to assist the greatest number of troops and family members, the program does not support those locations in the first round of funding. Should additional donations become available, we will work with our ASYMCA locations to expand the program.


Q: Do you provide flights for family members to visit service members?

A: Not at this time


Q: My spouse is deployed, and I qualify at an existing location, can I still utilize the program?

A: Yes, please contact the appropriate POC listed in Section A to request a form.


Q: Do I have to physically be there in person to qualify for this program?

A:   See Section A for the appropriate Point of Contact at your location who will provide those details.


Q: How can I help a service member?

A: You can donate to the program and help more families at this link:



Q: Is the form available online?

A: No, it is only available through the location POC listed in Section A.


Q: If I am selected to participate, what it required of me?

A: After travel has been arranged, the servicemember/family must also submit a photo, brief video and testimonial about their experience to their branch POC to share with the ASYMCA, Jack Daniel’s and our donors to show the value of the program.


Jack Daniels and The Armed Services YMCA look forward to making military life easier this holiday season!

Be Involved with Hampton Roads, VA ASYMCA

The Armed Services Y provides free or low-cost youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility programs for junior enlisted military & their families to make military life easier.

Click the links to learn more about how you can be involved: